Hidden Chamber Theory to be Confirmed or Denied by Radar Scans beginning Thursday in Tutankhamun Tomb
A three-day operation to scan behind the walls in the burial chamber of Tutankhamun is set to begin this Thursday with the results being announced by press conference on November 28. The official investigations are designed to test out the theory by archaeologist Nicholas Reeves that the tomb of Tutankhamun contains two hidden chambers and that one of them is the final resting place of Queen Nefertiti.
The Ministry of Antiquities in Egypt launched high-tech analyses within the boy king’s tomb on November 4 and initial infrared scans of the walls of Tutankhamun’s tomb detected an area of greater heat, which may indeed point to a hidden chamber. Excitement among historians is mounting that the long lost queen, and no doubt her wealth of treasures, may finally be found.
Ahram Online reports that the new operation “will involve the use of radar signals and infrared thermography to probe the north and west walls of the boy king’s burial chamber”. Antiquities Minister Mamduh al-Damati explained that these techniques will not cause any damage within the tomb, but are designed to reveal whether there are hidden chambers behind the walls or not.
Factum Arte scans reveal possible presence of hidden doors
National Geographic reports that Nicholas Reeves first suspected hidden chambers in Tutankhamun’s tomb following a detailed examination of the Factum Arte scans of the artistic works on the walls of the tomb. Reeves noticed fissures that he thinks may indicate the presence of two sealed doors in the tomb’s north and west walls.
“Cautious evaluation of the Factum Arte scans over the course of several months has yielded results which are beyond intriguing: indications of two previously unknown doorways, one set within a larger partition wall and both seemingly untouched since antiquity,” writes Reeves in a paper on his study of the scans. “The implications are extraordinary: for, if digital appearance translates into physical reality, it seems we are now faced not merely with the prospect of a new, Tutankhamun-era storeroom to the west; to the north appears to be signalled a continuation of tomb KV 62 and within these uncharted depths an earlier royal interment—that of Nefertiti herself, celebrated consort, co-regent, and eventual successor of pharaoh Akhenaten.”
- The Search Continues: Scientists to Use Radar in Hunt for the Tomb of Nefertiti
- Tutankhamun Death Mask was Made for Nefertiti, Archaeologist says
- The Elusive Tomb of Queen Nefertiti may lie behind the walls of Tutankhamun's Burial Chamber
Image showing the location of the two chambers from Dr. Reeves report. The upcoming radar scan will search for their existence. (Daily Mail)
Tutankhamun hastily buried in Nefertiti’s tomb?
Reeves posits that King Tutankhamun’s tomb was unfinished when he died unexpectedly as a teenager in 1332 BC. Consequently, he was hastily buried in the tomb of Queen Nefertiti, the principal wife of Akhenaten, who is believed to have fathered Tutankhamun with another wife. Reeves believes that Tutankhamun’s tomb displaced part of Nefertiti's tomb and assumed some of her burial goods and space.
Reeves points out that the tomb is far more typical of Egyptian queens rather than king due to its position to the right of the entrance shaft. In addition, the small size of Tutankhamun's burial chamber has been puzzling to Egyptologists, who have wondered why his burial chamber is the same size as an antechamber and not the typical size of a tomb fit for an Egyptian King. These factors suggest that Tutankhamun’s tomb is part of a larger complex that has not yet been uncovered or that the tomb may not have been intended for him but rather for Nefertiti.
Nefertiti was the chief consort of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten (formerly Amenhotep IV), who reigned from approximately 1353 to 1336 BC. Known as the Ruler of the Nile and Daughter of Gods, she acquired unprecedented power, and is believed to have held equal status to the pharaoh himself. However, much controversy lingers about Nefertiti after the twelfth regal year of Akhenaten, when her name vanishes from the pages of history. Despite numerous searches, her final resting place has never been found. She is one of the most searched-for queens in Egyptian history.
- The Quest to find Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile
- The Mysterious Disappearance of Nefertiti, Ruler of the Nile
The iconic bust of Nefertiti, discovered by Ludwig Borchardt, is part of the Ägyptisches Museum Berlin collection, currently on display in the Altes Museum (public domain).
Infrared scan provided initial evidence of hidden chamber
Last month, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities gave approval for testing of Reeves theory and on November 4 high-tech but low impact analyses were initiated. The first test involved infrared thermography, which measures temperature distributions on a surface.
According to Mamdouh el-Damaty, the Minister of Antiquities, “the preliminary analysis indicates the presence of an area different in its temperature than the other parts of the northern wall.” The variation in temperature hints at an open area behind the wall.
“If Dr Reeves is correct, the hidden tomb could be far more magnificent than anything found in Tutankhamun's burial chamber,” reports National Geographic.
While Dr Reeves is strong in his assertion that any mummy discovered in a hidden chamber is likely to be Nefertiti, Antiquities Minister al-Damati believes otherwise. According to Agence France Press, Damati believes that any mummy buried in Tutankhamun’s tomb would be more likely to be Kiya, a wife of the pharaoh Akhenaten.
Featured image: Scans of the north wall of King Tutankhamun's burial chamber have revealed features beneath the intricately decorated plaster (highlighted) a researcher believes may be a hidden door, possibly to the burial chamber of Nefertiti. Credit: Factum Arte.
By: April Holloway